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Passports And Visas

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he is aware that Belgians can enter France and Algiers on the simple production of a card of identity, without a passport, and that while the French visa has been dispensed with in the case of Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Paraguay, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador and Siam, it is still in force against Canada and other British Dominions and Colonies; and whether, in view of these facts, the Foreign Office will make representations to the French Government to secure equal privileges for British subjects to those enjoyed by other nations, and will specially ask that any disability now distinguishing the treatment which our Colonies of South Africa receive as compared with the treatment accorded to other Colonies may be abolished?

As the reply is a little long, and very dull, perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

Belgian subjects are enabled to enter France and Algeria on production of a card of identity in place of a passport, in virtue of a special agreement between the French and Belgian Govern- ments to which His Majesty's Government are not a party, owing to the impracticability of introducing the system of cards of identity in this country. An arrangement was concluded between His Majesty's Government and the French Government in July, 1921, whereby all British subjects could enter France and all French citizens could enter the United Kingdom without having French and British visas respectively affixed to their passports. This arrangement did not enable British subjects to visit French colonies and Protectorates or French citizens to visit His Majesty's Overseas Dominions without visas. Negotiations are, however, in progress with the French Government for the extension of the existing arangement to British subjects travelling to the French colonies and Protectorate and French citizens travelling to British colonies and Protectorates. The Governments of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa and Newfoundland have agreed generally to admit French citizens without British visas on their passports.